Boeing 737 fuselages sent from Spirit Aerosystems in Wichita, Kansas sit in a BNSF rail siding near Boeing’s Factory in Renton, Washington, U.S. May 16, 2019. Photo credit REUTERS/Eric Johnson
Boeing 737 fuselages sent from Spirit Aerosystems in Wichita, Kansas sit in a BNSF rail siding near Boeing’s Factory in Renton, Washington, U.S. May 16, 2019. Picture taken May 16, 2019. REUTERS/Eric Johnson

Collapsed Montana bridge forces Boeing into logistical somersault to maintain 737 production

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The rail route between Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Kansas and Boeing in Renton, Washington has been the primary thoroughfare for moving 737 fuselages between the two aerospace plants since 1967. However, since late June, that route has been severed.

A bridge operated by Montana Rail Link that crosses the Yellowstone River in Montana collapsed in the early morning hours of June 24, sending 10 train cars carrying hot asphalt and molten sulfur into the water below near Reed Point, roughly 40 miles west of Billings, according to the Associated Press. The cause is still under investigation by the Federal Road Administration.

Boeing confirmed that with the closure of the rail link, it now is lifting the fixtures carrying the green 737 fuselages with cranes off of rail cars and onto road transport for six miles along Interstate 90 and then loading them again onto rail cars the opposite side of the Yellowstone River for the last leg of the journey to the company’s final assembly line.

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